3:41 PM

Sri Lankan in Panel to probe deadly attack on UN in Algiers

Sinha Basnayake, a former Director of Legal Affairs at the United Nations, has been named as part of a panel to examine whether any United Nations staff should be held individually accountable over last December’s deadly terrorist attack on the world body’s premises in Algiers.

UN Secrertary-General Ban Ki-moon told UN staff that he was establishing the follow-up group in response to a recommendation issued by the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of UN Personnel and Premises Worldwide, itself created in the wake of the Algiers bombings, which killed 17 staff members and targeted UN offices in the Algerian capital.

Ralph Zacklin, a former Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, will head the group, and he will be assisted by Jean Jacques Graisse, Sinha Basanayake, Zelda Holtzman and Marisela Padron. The team will work out of UN Headquarters in New York and is slated to report back to Mr. Ban within six weeks.

In his letter to staff, the Secretary-General stressed that he has not forgotten the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the Algerian capital, or the suffering of the many other victims or their families.

"I would like to reiterate my firm commitment to ensuring full accountability on the part of my senior managers, as well as all those at other levels of responsible decision-making," he said.

"But, combating security threats from terrorists and other detractors of the United Nations and ensuring the safety and well-being of staff and dependents, national or international, makes it incumbent that host governments and Member States also realize their responsibilities more strongly so that fuller and more concrete cooperation of security matters can be elicited from them. This factor cannot remain under-emphasized."

The Independent Panel, led by Lakhdar Brahimi and comprised of international experts in the field, presented its report to Ban earlier this month, and the report was released today with some redactions to avoid revealing details that may pose further threats to the personnel and premises of the Organization.

3:40 PM

Twin air raids destroy LTTE training base

Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets and MI 24 helicopter Gunships carried out two air raids targeting LTTE camps located in the North Mannar this morning (June 26).

According to the Air Force sources, the first raid was carried out by MI 24 helicopters at 6 am targeting a Forward Operating Base (FOB) of LTTE located at Marattikannadi , 2 km North of Andankulama. The air raid was carried out to support the ground advance of Army 58 division on the Mannar front, said the sources. Ground troops have confirmed that the attack was effective, the sources added.

The second air raid was carried out by Air Force fighter jets around 6.10 am targeting a training base located in the Vellankulama area , 20 km North of Vidattaltivu. According to the sources the target was accurately taken. Exact damage caused to the enemy in this attack is yet to be verified, said the sources.